5 Ways Smartphones Can Help, Not Hurt In-Person Retail

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

In an era of smartphones, shopping apps, and flash sale sites, the ubiquity of online and mobile shopping seems an insurmountable challenge for local business and brick-and-mortar stores. But a new study by Gannett (NYSE:GCI) marketing firm G/O Digital found that mobile technology doesn’t hurt local shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, and instead can enhance it, challenging the popular idea that the rise of sites (and apps) like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will kill in-person retail.

The study, which surveyed 13,000 consumers who own a computer (desktop or laptop) and a smartphone or tablet, found that mobile technology has a significant influence on the way respondents shop. But instead of driving consumers away from in-person shopping, smartphones enable customers to research products, hunt for deals, and obtain coupons — which they often use to buy items in a local store.

Let’s take a look at the key points from the study, which highlights the new targeting and marketing opportunities that mobile tech presents to local stores and businesses.

1. iBeacons and push notifications enables retailers to create a personalized and targeted shopping experience

That’s a must for converting online and mobile traffic to in-person sales. Ninety percent of survey participants identified their smartphones as the device that’s easiest to use for shopping in a local store. However, 50.7 percent identified their computers as the most convenient device for browsing sales, coupons, and other deals. That indicates that mobile phones and desktop/laptop computers are used at different stages of the shopping experience, and both present opportunities for targeted advertising and interaction to facilitate in-person shopping and sales.

Easiest Device to Use for Different Activities